A Full Serving Of Sanctimonyby Doug Mataconis
I’m sitting here with the television in the background listening to Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee answer questions before a Congressional Committee. I’ll admit, it does make for great television; after all, you’ve got one of the best pitchers in the history of the game on one side and a washed-up trainer on the other and one of them is lying.
The real question, though, is who cares ?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a baseball, a Yankee fan specifically, and what could very well be the downfall of a great player saddens me. But none of this is the business of Congress.
Colman McCarthy puts it quite succinctly in today’s Washington Post:
This is the second time members of Congress have posed as drug-busters cleaning up the great American pastime. Except that drug use — whether involving legal or illegal drugs — already is the American pastime, and it is far bigger than baseball.
I’m hoping that Roger Clemens polls the members of Waxman’s committee on their use of performance-enhancing drugs. Start with Viagra. Or Cialis, ready for action “when the moment is right” — say, a congressman stumbling home after a late-night floor vote on an earmark bill. Clemens might ask the members how many need shots of caffeine drugs to get themselves up and out every morning. He might ask the members how often they reach for another shot of Jack Daniels to enhance their performance while grubbing for bucks from lobbyists at fundraisers. And before leaving Capitol Hill, he should grill the allegedly clean-living baseball reporters on how many of them sit in the press box enhancing their bodies with alcohol, nicotine and caffeine drugs. And a blunt or two when night games go extra innings and deadline nerves need steadying.
I see steroids, and all drugs, as an issue of personal freedom. Is there a difference between fans at big-league baseball games stoned on alcohol while cheering athletes on the base paths juiced with steroids? What’s the difference between scoring with Viagra and scoring with steroids? What’s the difference between people freely abusing their bodies with one drug but not another, as long as no one else is harmed and the consequences are self-sustained?
No difference but one. Some protectors of the public good — reluctantly, the 30 big-league team owners and now the Waxman committee and the sanctimonious sports media posing as guardians of baseball’s purity — have decreed a crackdown. Go get ‘em, Congress. Pass a law.
And that is exactly what they’re doing. I’m embarrassed to admit that one of the men behind this fiasco, Tom Davis, is my Congressman. I’d love to ask him why he’s wasting his time and my money on a massive game of he said-he said.